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We travel in a 11 ft. Lance
and we live in a 35 ft. Keystone
Sprinter Fifth Wheel
in a campground when not traveling. For boondocking our Lance is
equipped with solar power (12 V) as well as a propane generator.
AT SHOPPING CENTERS, CASINOS,
AND OTHER SEMI-PUBLIC AREAS
Generally we have found that
you can boondock all day at most shopping centers without being
bothered. As for night camping, it is usually important to check with
security or management, but malls with Walmart stores or where one or
more stores are open 24 hours, you can usually expect to stay without
being bothered, as long as you keep out of the way and otherwise keep
a low profile and do not become a nuisance.
Most Walmart stores in San
Diego have signs prohibiting overnight parking. I will note here that
although the Walmart in the College Grove Center in Lemon Grove is
one of those, we have overnighted there many times without anybody
expressing concern. RVs there tend to congregate in the back of the
lot near the Sam's Club trailers, nice and out of the way.
Most casinos - which are
plentiful in San Diego County - welcome boondockers and some have a
separate area just for campers.
Saturday nights, when finding
a good spot to camp in an urban area can be particularly challenging,
we'll sometimes stay in a church parking lot. We enjoy "church
hopping" and the next morning we'll attend services wherever we
parked. It is helpful to leave a friendly note on your windshield
encouraging a knock on the door if you are in the way, and letting
them know that otherwise you will just see them at services in the morning.
Depending on the area, school
parking lots may be available for overnight parking on the weekend.
Choose only schools in low-crime areas where off-hours activity at
the school is not likely to cause concern, and where no signs
prohibit entry after hours or without contacting the office.
Personally, when we stay at
any of these places we do NOT run the generator for extended periods
or put out furniture.
ON PUBLIC STREETS
San Diego is one of more and
more cities that prohibit parking any kind of recreational vehicle in
the street overnight, usually defined as 2 am to 4 am. Currently,
however, it is the stated policy of the San Diego police department
NOT to enforce this law, and many RVs park curbside at night. Again -
keep a low profile. We make it a point to act like a parked vehicle,
not like a camper, avoid being noisy or sometimes even leveling (turn
off fridge!) We have also found that in areas patrolled by the Harbor
Police enforcement is a lot less stringent - even about posted
parking restrictions - than in areas patrolled by SDPD or the Highway Patrol.
RV street parking regulation
varies from city to city in San Diego county. In Carlsbad, for
instance, RVs fall under the usual 3-day limit for staying parked in
the same place, while in Coronado there is a strict 3-hour limit for
RV-parking on the street, however only vehicles 24 ft or longer are
considered RVs for this purpose. It is wise to call ahead to the
non-emergency number of local police departments to find out exactly
what the restrictions are.
AT REST AREAS
While some rest areas
specifically state "no camping" they seem to all allow
"resting." We take this to mean that sleeping in the camper
is okay, whipping out the awning and setting up camp is not, and we
have never been asked to move on while staying the night at a rest area.
The following rest areas are
located in San Diego County:
Buckman Springs: Interstate
8, Exit 51. Stays limited to 8 hours. Restrooms, phones, picnic
areas, and free RV dump station.
Aside from the RV dump
station at Buckman Springs Rest Area, there is also a free RV dump at
Anza Cove in Mission Bay. The RV dump is located at the tourist
information and visitor's center near the west end of Clairmont Drive.
FREE WI-FI HOTSPOTS
IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY
San Diego is blessed with
exceptional free wireless internet coverage.
Several neighborhoods now are
covered to some extent with free wi-fi, among them Barrio Logan,
Golden Hill, National City, Normal Heights, San Diego Bay, Sherman
Heights, and South Park.
Many "Panera Bread"
locations in San Diego County offer free wi-fi. They tolerate
loitering to an exceptional extent and provide lots of power outlets.
Nearly all San Diego
libraries - both city and county - in San Diego County provide free
wi-fi, and most provide plenty of power outlets as well.
Great parks and places for DAY CAMPING in San Diego County, California: